Cautious optimism as Navajo Nation battles COVID-19

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As hard as the state’s been hit by COVID-19, the Navajo Nation has been hit even harder, especially early on in the pandemic. Case numbers are trending down, but the coronavirus is still very much a concern. Horizonte host Jose Cardenas spoke with Navajo Nation President, Jonathan Nez about what the tribe is doing to keep their people safe.

According to Nez 64,128 have been tested for COVID-19. With 8,187 testing positive for the virus on the reservation. On the other side of things, 5,856 have recovered from COVID-19, while 401 have died.

The reservation has issued health orders to keep people safe during these times. These range from curfew hours to recommending that all wear a mask when going out in public. These precautions have shown to be helpful, as the reservation has seen a decline in cases.

The federal government has provided Navajo Nation with 714 million dollars to help fight the virus. Nez says he would like to put the money towards water projects. As of now, 30 to 40% don’t have running water to wash their hands with. This poses a challenge during a time were washing your hands is important.

One of the biggest problems that face the tribe though is they only have one year to spend the money. Nez is hopeful that an extension will be provided to tribes to ensure enough time.

 

Jonathan Nez, President, Navajo Nation

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